Head Hunting

Posted in Human Resource Terms, Total Reads: 996
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Definition: Head Hunting

Head hunting is a process of recruitment of a prospective employee, who is working elsewhere and who has a relevant work experience for a particular job profile. Head hunting is carried out by the HR of a company or is outsourced to an agency or job consultant. Head hunting is one of the most effective methods for sourcing & getting candidates for top positions, who might not necessarily look for a job change.


Organizations in many cases look for people with good amount of experience or professional competency to join the organization. They may not be able to post the job vacancy directly due to maintenance of confidentiality. Further, they may not want to be dependent on the job boards, or on people seeking out for employment. Headhunting is suitable in these cases. Thus, we see that Headhunting works on a certain time frame to find the top management executives as the organization demands


Recruiters resort to headhunting when they find:

1. Certain position/designations lying vacant and nobody interesting applied,

2. When they are looking for certain niche skills(competencies) and don’t want to waste their time placing ads where unworthy candidates would apply for,

3. When a certain position is rather confidential and they don’t want to list it publicly on the market. Example, certain strategic roles, position that requires making tactical decisions.


There are 3 types of Headhunting:

1. Direct: It is a method of calling the candidates directly, either by calling on his/her number, or else meeting them at their homes or at their office. This is done after entire research has been done upon that person, and the role he is being hired for.

2. Indirect: Leaving a reference for the person to be headhunted, so that he may contact, in case he is willing.

3. Third Party: This is where the Executive search firms come in. The process of headhunting is outsourced, and

For example, If any HR manager finds that some “star resources” left & some competencies are not missing. I will then try to search the market for options to replace. It may so happen than the competency set may not be found. In that case, I would try to contact any headhunting agency to scan through people of other organizations, or from other sources, to try to find out a better match. The basic idea is that the pool is already narrowed to a few people, & we recruit the best among them.


There may be issues related to headhunting, where ethical issues may creep in along with confidential data of the prospective employee. It also further depends on how the employer tries to use the data that they have obtained. Besides there may issues like if a person declines the offer, the entire effort & Time goes waste.

All in all, the practice of headhunting may sometimes be misleading, ineffective in certain cases, but it should be pursued in a professional manner.

“All headhunting is recruitment, but all recruitment is not headhunting”.


The Headhunting procedure

Hence, this concludes the definition of Head Hunting along with its overview.

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